Eating at the same restaurant that introduced sweet potato bravas to me, I came across another genius food invention. It also happens to involve orange vegetables, but this time in pumpkin form. In case you ever wondered if those mini pumpkins that everyone uses for centerpiece decorations are edible, they are. And they make for beautiful, delicious bowls. I ordered seared scallops with butternut squash and dried cranberry risotto that came in a mini pumpkin. This part wasn’t described in the menu and was a fantastic surprise! So fantastic that I recreated the pumpkin bowl the next night.
The bowls are great because you can really put almost anything in them. Risotto one night, then the next night I put in roasted Brussels sprouts and onions. Any sort of vegetable, grain, or meat would work. Or make a soup and use the pumpkin instead of a bread bowl. Mini pumpkins are easy to come by at this time of year in the grocery store. For a fuller meal or a big soup bowl, use a bigger one. Even carving pumpkin are edible—I spent a good portion of last fall eating the biggest pumpkins Whole Foods had to offer. Originally meant for carving, but we never got around to it… they aren’t quite as sweet as the sugar pumpkins, but still good! And all you really have to do is cut it a few times and place on a baking tray. The skin easily peels off on its own once the pumpkin is finished roasting.
Place mini pumpkins on a baking sheet with oven at 375F. Bake for about 15 minutes until the pumpkins are soft enough to cut into. Cut around the stem to scoop out the seeds and the insides (save the seeds for roasting!). Fill the pumpkin halfway with water so that it steams the pumpkin flesh nicely, then bake for about 30-40 more minutes or until the pumpkin is at the desired softness. Once finished, pour out the water and fill with roasted vegetables, risotto, soup, stuffing, nuts, etc. Or just eat plain!